Senate Passes Unconstitutional Abortion Ban

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Legislation Prohibits Safest Abortion Procedure After 12 Weeks of Pregnancy
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Flouting a decision by the United States Supreme Court that found a ban on so-called "partial-birth abortion" to be unconstitutional, the U.S. Senate today passed a nearly identical version of the abortion ban (S.3) in a 65-32 vote.

"Today, the Senate passed a law that they know is unconstitutional and endangers women's health," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which won the Supreme Court case striking down a similar abortion ban three years ago. "Supporters of this bill refused not only to cure the flaws pointed out by Supreme Court, but also failed to pass an amendment to help prevent pregnancies in the first place. More than anything else, these actions demonstrate that the bill's supporters care more about banning abortions than upholding the Constitution or protecting women's health."

President Bush has publicly committed to signing the ban into law once it passes Congress, as is expected. The Center for Reproductive Rights previously announced that it intended to take the Bush Administration to court to block enforcement of the ban as soon as it is enacted.

Although proponents of the ban claim that only "late-term" abortions would be prohibited, the Center's legal and medical experts affirm that the ban would outlaw use of the safest and most common pre-viability abortion procedure used after the first trimester of pregnancy - dilation and evacuation (D&E).

Just three years ago, in Stenberg v. Carhart, the U.S. Supreme Court found Nebraska's so-called "partial-birth abortion" ban to be an unconstitutional threat to women's health and lives. The Justices struck down the ban for two reasons: first, the ban would have prevented women from obtaining the safest methods of abortion, second, it lacked an exception in cases where the health of the mother was in jeopardy. The bill passed by the Senate today fails to remedy these flaws.